Yesterday’s Science Times had a cool article about cobras, “How the King Cobra Maintains Its Reign.” (Don’t click that link if you don’t like pictures of snakes).

I wanted to post a link to that article because I thought it was interesting. It popped up because I have a google alert set for cobras, not because of Halloween.

Still, snakes are pretty spooky, so they make good Halloween post fodder. Yesterday’s Washington Post contained an article, “Evolutionary psychology explores ancient and newer roots of instinctual fears,” that was pretty interesting.

Cars kill a lot more people than spiders, bats, snakes and wolves, but why don’t we fear them in the same visceral way? When’s the last time you saw a jack-o’-lantern carved in the shape of a BMW?

The drugstore Halloween images of dark and hairy critters touch off sensations deep inside us, pointing bony fingers at instincts that go back millions of years, evolutionary psychologists say.

On a related note – I don’t know about your house, but mine has become the Kingdom of the Spiders lately and I’m not enjoying it. I know we’re not alone in our neighborhood, the local hardware store is doing a brisk business in glue traps. Yuck.

p.s. if you read these posts via email, I apologize for the last post you received. The email you received was of an early draft and it was a mess. The correct post is on the site.

I like spiders. They’re interesting creatures, many are even quite beautiful. They don’t bang around in the walls, they don’t generally do any damage to your home, they don’t smell, and they don’t talk on their cell-phones while they swerve in and out of your lane at 40 MPH on Connecticut Avenue.

Nevertheless, I had to kill a large wolf spider last night in mom’s bathroom.

How large? I’m pretty sure it was actually howling at the moon when I interrupted it.

I intended to trap it under a glass and repatriate it to the wild, but I was a micro-second slow and crushed it with the side of the glass when I trapped it. I felt pretty horrible watching it die. Then I made Husband flush it down the toilet while I stood outside the room yelling hysterically for him to be careful.

Before you pass judgement, hear me out. I believe you’ll agree with me that the spider got what was coming to it based on it’s hostile behavior, aggressive posturing, gargantuan size, and overall hairiness.

Here’s what happened:

I flipped on the bathroom light and the arachnid in question was standing on the floor in front of the bathtub. Normally, one might say that a spider was “sitting” on the floor, but there was nothing passive about this sonofabitch. It wasn’t resting, it was merely pausing between acts of wanton destruction and cold-blooded killing.

It looked up at me like it was daring me to step into the room.

It shifted it’s mass back onto it’s abdomen, lifting it’s cephalothorax up slightly as it did that creepy thrumming thing spiders do with their 4 front legs when they’re obviously planning something. It’s an elegant motion, like graceful fingers elegantly drumming upon a table, or harp-strings set in motion.

Except instead of beautiful music I heard a slight crunching sound as the spider then used those elegant legs to reach over and idly pick through the pile of carnage by it’s side. I think it was using a puppy’s femur as a toothpick to work some gristle out of it’s gleaming razor-sharp fangs.

The spider nodded it’s head ever so slightly at me, as if to say, “You’re next, pal.”

If I’d had either a shotgun or the shopvac handy there would have been less screaming. Or maybe more screaming, but less spider.

I’m willing to entertain the possibility that the behemoth wasn’t actually sitting on a pile of gore and licking the blood of toddlers from it’s pedipalps, but I haven’t had any coffee yet so I can’t really be sure.